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Despite boycotts and die-ins, Publix sales were up the last three months

The company said Trump’s tax cut boosted earnings too.
Protesters participate in a "die'-in" protest in a Publix supermarket on Friday in Coral Springs. The activists, many of whom are Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, entered the Publix store to protest against the company's support of political candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association who oppose gun reform. [Photo by Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
Protesters participate in a "die'-in" protest in a Publix supermarket on Friday in Coral Springs. The activists, many of whom are Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, entered the Publix store to protest against the company's support of political candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association who oppose gun reform. [Photo by Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
Published Aug. 2, 2018
Updated Aug. 2, 2018

Publix stores rang up $8.8 billion in sales during the months of April, May and June, a $400 million increase over the same period last year.

That covers the months when Parkland students and other gun-reform activists encouraged a widespread boycott of the Lakeland-based grocery chain due to the company’s six-figure contributions to Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor who in a tweet last year declared himself a “proud NRA sellout.”

HOW IT STARTED: Publix is supporting Adam Putnam's run for governor like no politician before

Activists held die-ins at Publix stores to protest the company’s support for Putnam in the wake of mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one of the deadliest in state history. Amid the outcry, Publix officials said May 23 that the company would halt all political donations.

MORE: Publix responds: We support Putnam, not the NRA

Prior to this decision, Publix had contributed more money to Putnam's campaign for governor than it had ever given to a Florida candidate. Putnam, like Publix, is a product of Polk County, which the company said was a factor in its support.

READ: Publix to evaluate donation process after Adam Putnam political backlash

If the protests and boycotts had any bearing on Publix's bottom line, the company didn't say so in the second quarter results posted on Wednesday. It is possible Publix could have made even more money without the spate of negative publicity.

But it seems Florida's largest private company had a rather strong quarter, thanks to the massive tax cuts to corporations approved last year by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

Sales were up, and Publix took home more of that money during those three months. Net earnings were $616.2 million, compared to $495.1 million over the same period in 2017.

The company attributed the 25 percent increase in earnings to the tax cut, which lowered the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Publix stock increased $41.75 per share on March 30 to $42.55 on June 30. The grocery chain's stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to Publix associates and the company's board of directors. Its stock price fluctuates based on what the company is valued at.

“Since the beginning of the year, our stock price has increased from $36.85 to $42.55, over 15 percent,” Publix CEO & President Todd Jones said in a press release. “Our associates deserve the credit for continuing to make us a leader in customer service.”